Asa Hutchinson

With the increased concern about school safety in the wake of recent events around the nation, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has issued an executive order that creates the Arkansas School Safety Commission.

Hutchinson also committed $300,000 to the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) for additional training for school resource officers and security assessments for schools.

“The physical safety of our students is a nonnegotiable responsibility and demands the immediate attention of professionals in education, law enforcement, security, and mental health,” he said. “This commission will report back to me with a comprehensive assessment of school security and recommendations for shoring up any gaps in security.

“Through research, interviews and school visits, the members of this commission will lead a statewide review and study that will guide us to establish and implement additional safeguards to protect Arkansas students from violence.”

The commissioners will evaluate school designs, safety and security policies, emergency plans and policies, school counseling, and mental health issues. They will evaluate school-security data, including issues such as single-point entry, electronic access badges, and school resource officers.

The School Safety Commission’s initial report is due to Governor Hutchinson on July 1.

The commission will include a representative from the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), and the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA).

The commission also will include the director of the CJI, a county sheriff, a public school superintendent, a public school teacher, a public school counselor, a retired federal employ with law-enforcement experience, and a mental-health professional.

Members of the commission are:

Dr. Cheryl May – Chair
Director, Criminal Justice Institute (CJI)
University of Arkansas System

Bill Temple – Vice Chair
Retired Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

John “Don” Kaminar
Special Projects and School Safety Manager
Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)

Brad Montgomery
Director of Public School Academic Facilities
Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)

A.J. Gary
Director, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM)

Sheriff Tim Helder
Washington County Sheriff

Jami Cook
Director, Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA)

Will Jones
Deputy Attorney General, Special Investigations Unit
Office of the Attorney General

David Hopkins
Superintendent, Clarksville School District

Dawn Anderson
High School Counselor, Hot Springs High School

John Allison
Teacher, Vilonia High School

Hutchinson will appoint a mental health professional in the coming days, prior to the start of the commission’s work. Additional appointees from the different geographic regions of Arkansas may be appointed to the commission as Hutchinson deems appropriate.


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